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Court rules that individual property value increase must result from countywide reassessment. (Cases in Brief).

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that once a valuation has been made for a taxable property, that valuation cannot be changed unless the change is the result of a countywide reassessment.

Richard E. Radecke (Taxpayer) acquired a property in May 1997, for $138,000. The property was originally assessed at $85,300 and then prior to Radecke's purchase was reassessed at $116,680 in 1996 as part of a countywide reassessment. After Radecke purchased the property, an appraiser for the York County Assessors Office inspected the property and discovered improvements that included an air-conditioning system, a concrete patio, an enclosed masonry porch, two frill baths instead of one, and a recreation room in the basement. The appraiser estimated the value of these improvements and added it to the 1996 assessed value, increasing the assessed value of the subject property to $138,440. Radecke appealed the assessment. The Board of Assessment of Appeals denied his request. The trial court upheld the board.

On appeal the board argued that it was merely correcting a clerical omission in the data collected for the State Tax Equalization Board, which it discovered during the validation of the sale for realty transfer tax purposes. "While a taxing authority is permitted to correct clerical or mathematical assessment errors in an effort to maintain uniformity," the court said, "we find that the board improperly approved an increased assessment on Taxpayer's property; thereby subjecting Taxpayer to an impermissible spot assessment." The court emphasized that the essence of the assessment was to bring the property in line with the fair market value of other properties in the neighborhood, not simply to correct mathematical or clerical errors. The trial court decision was reversed.

Radecke v. York County Bd. of Assessment

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

January 25, 2002

Publication Ordered

May 6, 2002

(AJ/02/A.-$ 10)
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Publication:Appraisal Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2PA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Words:306
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